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Tortuga Conducts LCAC Operations

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070207-09
Release Date: 2/7/2007 11:49:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brandon A. Myrick, USS Tortuga Public Affairs

USS TORTUGA, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Tortuga (LSD 46) and Marines of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) successfully conducted landing craft air cushion (LCAC) operations Feb. 4, in the vicinity of Okinawa, Japan, as part of a series of amphibious operations held in conjunction with Blue-Green Workups.

Tortuga Sailors spent the day launching, recovering and tracking the LCAC to ensure the ship and its crew are ready to perform an amphibious assault or humanitarian assistance operation as the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ESXARG) continues its spring patrol.

The LCAC is a high-speed, over-the-beach, fully amphibious landing craft with a vital role in transporting weapons systems, equipment, cargo and personnel of the assault elements of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force from ship to shore and across the beach.

“LCACs enable equipment to be delivered over water and diverse lands quickly,” said Operations Officer Lt. Robert D. Starks. “They enable us as a crew to be more flexible when it comes to deliver supplies and logistics.”

LCACs are held in the well deck, the large opening at the back of the ship, which allows amphibious vehicles to quickly deploy and be retrieved.

“It is a fast and efficient way to on load and off load equipment for Marines at any given time,” said Boatswains Mate 2nd Class (SW/AW) Francisco J. Reynoso.

LCACs operate in waters regardless of depth, underwater obstacles, shallows or adverse tides. It can proceed inland on its air cushion, clearing obstacles up to four feet, regardless of terrain.

“They are very versatile and durable and can carry equipment, such as trucks and track vehicles,” said Boatswains Mate 3rd Class (SW) David E. Bowens. “They can disembark on ramps located both forward and aft, which shortens critical load time.”

Additionally, it allows the Navy to provide humanitarian assistance to people located in remote coastal areas in times of natural disasters.

LCACs allow transportating large quantities of food, supplies and medicines, and can carry out humanitarian evacuations in areas previously not accessible.

“Every military branch has its own part in the fight against natural disasters and [terrorists],” said Boatswains Mate 2nd Class (SW/AW) Andre D. Batts. “Our part being on a forward-deployed amphibious ship in the Navy, is to transport supplies, Marines and their equipment safely to the designated location.”

Tortuga and the Essex Amphibious Ready Group (ESXARG) are currently conducting Blue-Greens as the first phase of their spring patrol. Tortuga is a dock landing ship serving under Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7/Task Force 76, the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force.

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